Norway in a Nutshell: Built Fjord Tough

A big thank you to Visit Norway for providing this visually stunning adventure! As always, all opinions are our own.

Norway has so much to see, and we had a limited time, which made Norway in a Nutshell the best Norse experience possible.

David the Train Nut is still ready to go! We're wearing our Eurail Pass out!
David the Train Nut is a bit excited!

This jaunt from Oslo to Bergen is the most popular excursion in the country because, as the name implies, by land and by sea we passed through a little bit of everything that makes Norway so cool.

Our train pulled out of Oslo before daylight, which on a crisp November day (and far, far north) is not really all that early.

The view from our train window outside of Oslo, Norway

Snow on Norway's Hardangervidda Plateau from the train

The first part of the journey took us through the city and suburbs before the train began the climb of over four-thousand feet up to the Hardangervidda Plateau.

Along the way the scenery and weather begin to change. Soon snow covered the landscape as we traveled just to the south of some of country’s highest peaks.  This is the Norway of Alpine winter sports, and winter was well underway.

Snow on Norway's Hardangervidda Plateau from the train from Oslo to Bergen

Winter scene on the Norway in a Nutshell tour from Oslo to Bergen

Winter scene on the Norway in a Nutshell tour from Oslo to Bergen

Norway near Myrdal from the train. On our Eurail Adventure

By the time we arrived at Myrdal, where we changed trains to the famous Flåm Line, the clouds had broken and blue sky prevailed.

We were certainly seeing Norway's weather in a nutshell!

 

Falling into Flåm (BTW, å is now officially Veronica's favorite letter!)

The railway going to Flam on the Norway in a Nutshell tour in the winter

The railway down to the little town of Flåm is a scenic and engineering marvel. The twenty kilometers are some of the steepest tracks in the world, dropping nearly three thousand feet through twenty tunnels
Overlooking the eerie, frozen basin of the Kjosfosson Waterfall...

The railway runs down the valley of Flåmsdalen to the little town of Flåm, and is a scenic and engineering marvel.

These twenty kilometers include some of the steepest conventional railroad tracks in the world and took sixteen years to build.

Overlooking the eerie basin of the Kjosfosson Waterfall on the train ride to Flam on the Norway in a Nutshell tour

View from our train into Flam, Norway

All in all the elevation drops nearly three thousand feet through a series of five hairpin curves and twenty tunnels, taking us all the way back down to sea level.

We passed countless waterfalls streaming over the edges of the valley because the glaciers that carved this landscape left behind nearly vertical cliffs, perfect for the streams that flow over the edge to spill into misty veils of falling water.

View from the train to Flam in Norway

Fjord tour beginning in Flam, Norway

The town of Flåm is not much more than a few buildings around the ferry port, but we had a few minutes to explore and found the small museum that chronicles the building of the railroad.

We poked through the displays before boarding the ferry that would take us to Gudvangen via two of Norway's most picturesque fjords.

Photo of the men who built the Flam Railway in Norway at the Train Museum in Flam

Flam, Norway

You can't see Norway like THIS in the summertime!

Our ship, Fjord1, picks us up in Flam to take us through the Fjords on the Norway in a Nutshell tour

Our voyage began in Aurlandsfjord, which has the look of a perfect classic fjord, because it is. We would be hard pressed to find a better example of a massive canyon carved out by glaciers from the last ice age, then filled in by the sea.

The fjords at sunset on our wintertime Norway in a Nutshell experience


We did pop in periodically for warm drinks!

Our little ship, the Fjord1 ferry, was dwarfed beneath five thousand feet of cliffs and mountains.

With our jaws dropped and eyes wide, we braved the brisk breezes on the open-air top deck so as not to miss a single sight.

The fjords at sunset on our wintertime Norway in a Nutshell experience

Before long we passed the beautiful villages of Aurland and Undredal, and a few of the residents came out to wave as we went by.

Undredal is famous for goat cheese, so much so that the four-legged billy critters out number people by 5 to 1. Come to think of it, most of them can’t be billies or there wouldn’t be much cheese - they must mostly be of the nanny variety.

The fjords at sunset on our wintertime Norway in a Nutshell experience

These towns are certainly secluded, but nothing like the scattered farm and fishing houses that we spotted periodically along the shore and up the steep slopes.

Homes along the fjords on our Norway in a Nutshell tour near Flam

We could understand the fishing outposts, they were easy enough to access by boat, but some of the cabins up on the hillsides were downright puzzling. The paths leading up were more or less ladders.

Homes impossibly built high on the mountains of the fjords on our Norway in a Nutshell tour near Flam

It takes some serious dedication to haul supplies up that!

The fjords at sunset on our wintertime Norway in a Nutshell experience

Our captain keeps us safe while navigating the fjords on our Norway in a Nutshell tour

About an hour into our journey we turned into Nærøyfjorden. It took us a few moments, but we sounded out the name…  nae/roy/ fjord…  na/ro/fjord…  oh, narrowfjord.

It wasn’t long before we realized that it was aptly named, because it gets crazy skinny, only a few hundred meters wide in some spots.

The fjords at sunset on our wintertime Norway in a Nutshell experience

Cruising the fjords of Norway at sunset on our Norway in a Nutshell tour

Both fjords are branches of the Sognefjord, which is the largest fjord in Norway, and second longest in the world.

Because these are such prime examples, the entire area has been named the West Norwegian Fjords UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The fjords after dark on our wintertime Norway in a Nutshell experience

We finished the fjord section of our journey in the long subarctic twilight, docking at Gudvangen as darkness fell.

We made the remainder of our journey to Bergen by bus, only able to see a few scattered lights from villages along the way.

Luckily, we got to see this scenic stretch in the daylight a couple of days later as we made our way back across the country on our way above the Arctic Circle in search of Northern Lights.

David and Veronica, GypsyNester.com

DELVE DEEPER:
Visit the Norway in a Nutshell website
See all of our adventures in Norway!
See our full journey through Norway by rail - spectacular!

A big thank you to Visit Norway for providing this visually stunning adventure! As always, all opinions are our own.





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